06/06/2018 5808 views

[Version française en bas]
Rosia Montana/Romania, 6 June 2018 – “Last month ICOMOS, the body of UNESCO experts, confirmed what a great World Heritage site Rosia Montana could make. Today the Dancila government asked UNESCO to stop for Rosia Montana to become a World Heritage site. This has never happened anywhere before. It confirms that PSD-ALDE still want to make the dirty gold mine happen; that they are striking a deal with Gabriel Resources. We won’t let them crush what we fought for! Together we stopped them before and together we can stop them again,” says Roxana Pencea-Bradatan, founding director of Mining Watch Romania.

In an unprecedented move, Romania’s government has stopped the procedure of making Roşia Montană a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to news released today, the request was submitted by the Ministry of Culture and sent to the Romanian Ambassador to UNESCO through the Foreign Ministry. The nomination procedure was halted by the government without any public announcement; without any debate.

The decision to include Roşia Montană among the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage sites was scheduled to be taken by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session, to be held from 29 June to 2 July in Manama, Bahrain.

The government claims that an arbitration procedure brought forward by Canadian Gabriel Resources asking for $4.4bn in damages for not having been given the green light for their mine proposal at Rosia Montana, is the reason behind today’s move. However, since a UNESCO nomination is no hindrance to a claim of damages over past actions but a physical hindrance to realising the mine proposed by Gabriel Resources, todays news may well be a first step in Romania’s government having struck a deal with Gabriel Resources. In return for a green light for the gold mine, the parties to the arbitration case theoretically could agree to drop the case.

In response to today’s news, the Save Rosia Montana campaign is calling citizens to take again the streets for Rosia Montana by organising and participating in protests this Friday (8. June 2018) from 18:00 onwards. In addition citizens can sign a petition to UNESCO.

More information about the protests.
Link to the petition.

***

[Version française]

Rosia Montana/Roumanie

« Il y a un mois, ICOMOS, le forum professionnel de l’UNESCO, a confirmé que Rosia Montana possède tous les attributs requis pour son inscription au Patrimoine mondial de l’humanité. Aujourd’hui nous apprenons que le gouvernement Dancila a formulé une demande de blocage du dossier. C’est du jamais vu auparavant. C’est la confirmation du fait que PSD-ALDE veut poursuivre le projet minier, dans le but d’une entente avec Gabriel Resources. Que les choses soient claires, nous ne leur permettrons pas de détruire tout ce qui a été gagné par la mobilisation. Ensemble, nous les arrêterons. » – dit Roxana Pencea-Bradatan, directeur fondateur de Mining Watch Romania.

A travers une action sans précédent au niveau diplomatique international, le gouvernement roumain a bloqué la procédure d’inscription de Rosia Montana sur la Liste des sites UNESCO. Selon les médias, la demande a été formulée par le Ministère de la Culture et envoyée à l’ambassadeur roumain à l’UNESCO par le Ministère des Affaires étrangères. Ceci est arrivé trois semaines avant le moment de la prise de décision finale par le Comité UNESCO.

La décision d’inclusion de Rosia Montata au Patrimoine mondial de l’humanité était prévue pour la 41e réunion du Comité UNESCO, qui se tiendra du 29 juin au 2 juillet à Manama, Brésil.

Le gouvernement prétend que son mouvement d’aujourd’hui se justifie par la procédure d’arbitrage initiée par la compagnie canadienne Gabriel Resources. L’enjeu est de 4,4 milliards de dollars et l’ouverture du projet minier. Malgré cela, une nomination à la liste de l’UNESCO n’est pas un obstacle pour une demande de dédommagement pour des nuisances commises dans le passé, mais un obstacle concret pour la réalisation du projet minier de Rosia Montana. Par conséquent, les informations sur la demande du gouvernement indique plutôt le début d’une négociation entre le gouvernement et Gabriel Resources. En échange des approbations finales pour la réalisation du projet minier, les deux parties impliquées dans l’arbitrage peuvent renoncer au procès à tout moment.

En réaction aux nouvelles du jour, la Campagne Salvati Rosia Montana appelle à nouveau les citoyens à une nouvelle manifestation pour la défense de Rosia Montana, vendredi 8 juin 2018, partout dans le pays, à partir de 18 heures. De plus, les citoyens peuvent signer une pétition adressée au Centre du Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO. Par ce texte, nous demandons que le dossier suive son cours et qu’il entre dans l’agenda du Comité du Patrimoine mondiale qui se tiendra à la fin du mois.

Envoyez un message a UNESCO!

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12/10/2017 8404 views

12 October 2017 – The Ministry of Economy brought a new mining law under public debate, which resumes the provisions of the toxic law of 2013. The special law for Roșia Montană is back and is extended now to the whole mining industry (from stone quarries to uranium and copper mines).

“The Romanian Government and the mining industry do not give up the national expropriation law. A new draft bill was proposed, which is beneficial to Roșia Montană Gold Corporation, Deva Gold or Samax Romania alike. Organisations were excluded from the inter-ministerial work group during the new bill drafting process, so as not to interfere with the deals between Romanian officials and industry representatives”, said Roxana Pencea Brădățan of Mining Watch Romania.

Mining Watch Romania expressed their interest to participate in the ministerial work group as early as July 2016. However they were denied participation. “It is outrageous now to see in the explanatory statement that ‘all interested NGOS have participated, the Ministry of Economy being open to all their constructive proposals’”, added Roxana Pencea Brădățan. The Save Roșia Montană campaign and Mining Watch disapprove the way how the new bill was drafted, which excluded environmental organisations or those active in communities directly affected by mining.

Should this new law be adopted, the approval of the gold mining projects such as those in Certej, Roșia Montană or Rovina would be simplified. The Mining Law would become a vast collection of exemptions from legislation in force for the mining industry.

The project provisions have nothing to do with the purpose declared in the explanatory statement. Under the pretence of enhancing citizens’ safety, the draft bill actually operates changes which severely jeopardize the constitutional law protecting private property. Thus the draft bill provides a special category of mineral resources of strategic importance, the exploitation of which is considered to be of national interest and is declared of public benefit. The draft bill does not specify what are the resources in this category, and the very vague criteria established for a resource to fall under the category of strategic resources actually allow for every mineral resource to be considered as such. To quote from the original text, a resource of national interest is that resource which “contributes to the implementation of national interest”.

“This definition would allow the expropriation of all private properties on the lands required for developing mining operations (and even adjacent works of such operations). The draft bill also proposes a very simplified and accelerated expropriation procedure, which mining license holders may use in order to acquire ownership on the lands”, says lawyer Ștefania Simion.

Mining project approval has always lacked transparency: from granting licensing to signing association contracts and more recently to the Romanian state’s litigation with Gabriel Resources. Under the fake pretext of increasing transparency and citizen participation in decision making on mining license awards, the draft bill assigns a confidential character to all data and information on mining licenses.

Moreover, in the draft bill substantiation the ministry invokes the mining companies’ right to equal treatment by the law and to non-discrimination. Actually the draft bill gives these companies an absolutely disproportionate position and privileges, which have nothing to do with equality before the law. For instance mining companies would be exempted from the obligation to compensate in land plots the areas definitively removed from the national forestry real estate register.

This deregulation is so ridiculous that the monitoring of the way how the mining license operator complies with the conditions set in the mining construction permit falls under the responsibility of the… mining license holder!

 

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